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Tunisia opposition rejects Ennahdha proposal

National Salvation Front says all negotiations without the dissolution of the government are a "waste of time".

Last Modified: 23 Aug 2013 14:06
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The opposition accuses the government of failing to rein in Tunisia's Islamists hardliners [AFP]

Tunisia's opposition coalition has rejected an offer by the ruling Islamists for ending a month-long political crisis, saying the proposal to enter talks on a government of technocrats was insufficient.

"All negotiations without the [immediate] dissolution of the government are a waste of time," Taieb Baccouche, a representative of the National Salvation Front, said on Friday.

He was speaking after meeting members of the Tunisian General Labour Union (UGTT), which has been mediating between the two sides and which forwarded the ruling Ennahdha party's proposals.

Jilani Hammami, another NSF representative, described Ennahdha's proposals, the details of which were not communicated to the press, as ambiguous.

"We are going to keep up the pressure for the government's dissolution, we have a plan to step up the mobilisation on the ground," Hammami said.

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Ennahdha announced on Thursday, for the first time since the start of the crisis triggered by the assassination of opposition MP Mohamed Brahmi, that it accepted a proposition by the country's union as a starting point to begin negotiations with secularist opposition parties.

But the party stressed that a "national dialogue" bringing together supporters and opponents of the ruling coalition needed to take place first.

The opposition accuses the government of failing to rein in Tunisia's Islamists hardliners, who are blamed for murdering Brahmi and Chokri Belaid, another prominent secular politician whose assassination in February brought down the first Ennahdha-led coalition.

Ennahdha has also been accused of mismanaging the economy and failing to improve living standards.

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